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Getting the low-down on what your rivals are doing is an important part of any effective SEO campaign. That’s because search engine optimization isn’t something you do in isolation. Instead, it’s more like a game where your moves reflect the actions of your competitors, and vice versa.

Here, we explore why competitor analysis is important in SEO and how you actually do it. We then list some tools that you can use for this purpose and how they work.

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Why is competitor analysis important in SEO?

Competitor analysis is an important part of SEO because it shows you who your main rivals in your industry actually are (at least in the online arena). You might think it is obvious who your rivals are, but after further investigation, many firms discover rivals they never knew they had before.

Competitor analysis constellates around keywords – search terms that users type into search bars on Google. If both you and your rivals are targeting a particular phrase, it means that you’re in competition for the same users’ attention.

Competitor analysis tells you three important things:

  1. Where you’re currently doing well compared to your rivals (for instance, you might have more links to your pages or longer dwell times)
  2. Where you’re going wrong in your strategy (and where your current approach to SEO is letting you down)
  3. Where you’ve been blind (rivals may be using tactics to attract users that you never even thought of)

How to do an SEO competitive analysis?

If you want to do an SEO competitive analysis, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Identify Your Keyword Gaps

“Keyword gap analysis” is a popular term in the SEO world and refers to the practice of finding keywords that your rivals rank well for, but you don’t. This approach lets you see where you’re currently falling down and how you might improve. It’s also critical for finding new opportunities for reaching out and connecting with your audience. Your rivals might be using keywords that you never thought of before.

Step 2: Find High-Performing Content Pages

The type of content you should be producing depends heavily on your industry. Part of effective competitive analysis, therefore, is seeking out high-performing blogs, videos and articles and then looking for factors that might explain their success.

For instance, you might measure:

  • The length of their content
  • The type of topics they cover
  • The form of the content (infographics, ebooks, blogs, videos etc.)
  • The meta tags and data they use

You can then correlate these features with page traffic. The characteristics that generate the most interest can then inform your content strategy going forward.

Step 3: View Their Backlink Profiles

Digital tools let you view all the hyperlinks that third-party sites send to your competitors’ pages. Here, you can usually quickly tell whether the backlink profile is organic (that is, something that developed naturally over time), or directed. In some cases, your competitors will have bought links from link-building services.

Step 4: Check Their Web Design

Increasingly, web design is playing a role in SEO. Google, for instance, wants pages to load quickly, without any annoying pop-ups or elements changing their positions during the loading process.

Examining how your competitors are performing in this area lets you know whether your site is up to scratch. Are their pages mobile friendly? Do they open quickly? Are there any weaknesses in loading times or page layout that you could improve upon?

Step 5: Check Their Google My Business Listing

Lastly, you can take a look at your rivals’ Google My Business listings. These are important for determining how high they rank both in search and on Maps, for related search times. If there are sections missing from their profile, capitalize by filling them out on yours. Don’t forget to include good photos.

Best SEO tools for competitor website analysis

When it comes to SEO tools for competitor website analysis, you’re spoiled for choice. There are so many options.

  • Semrush: Semrush’s competitor analysis tools lets you identify who your competitors aren, the markets they operate in, and the strength of their website. It also shows you their online marketing strategy, level of engagement they get, and much more.
  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is similar. It shows you your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and how to capitalize on them, what works in your industry, and which SEO tasks you need to prioritize.
  • Moz: Lastly, Moz shows you which keywords you should target, who your SEO competitors analysis are, and where you can find links to connect to your site. banner

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